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Simultaneous interpreting
Thread poster: eva75

eva75
English
+ ...
Aug 20, 2006

I currently work as a translator, but am interested in doing simultaneous interpreting alongside (basically because it pays better!).

My question concerns simultaneous and consecutive interpreting. I prefer simultaneous, and have also tried consecutive , with disastrous consequences (all that notetaking made me feel like a secretary°.

I just wanted to know if there are any of you who have felt alike. I've been told that simultaneous is much more difficult than consecutive, but for me this has not been the case.

While I have little experience in simultaneous interpreting, I would like to offer my services to agencies (+liaison interpreting). What are my chances of being offered work?


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
A few comments Aug 20, 2006

Hi Eva,

You don't say where you live. I'm sure each country, and even each area, is different when it comes to how much work is available, and how well paid you will be.

As far as which mode of interpreting is harder, consecutive or simultaneous, all the interpreters I know say that simultaneous is much easier, and I agree. With consecutive, not only you have to be very good at taking notes, but you are also relying a great deal on your memory. One of the worst things that can happen to you, is that you take notes and can't read them later. And of course, you have no control over how long the speaker will talk without pausing, they forget that you are there to interpret.

With simultaneous you are lagging behing the speaker a few seconds, so you are not really retaining any of the information in your memory. I bet this matter was discussed already in the forum, have you tried looking?

Let's see what other colleagues have to say. Good luck to you!

teju


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
More Comments Aug 20, 2006

I of course second Teju's comments and naturally the one on your location. It would have to be a location where there would be a good demand for interpreting in your language pair. Clients like to avoid travel expenses or keep them to a minimum by hiring locals.

Personally I have done much conference interpreting which is simultaneous, and also some consecutive. I feel much more comfortable with simultaneous because that is how I have trained myself, "in and out in a flash". On the other hand, my memory is almost non-existent because I have not trained that way. Neither is easy, I can assure you of that.

In consecutive situations I try to "control" the speaker to keep the utterances short and break in frequently so memory does not come into play. In some situations I will start "speaking over" the speaker. Since the result is that things go faster, many clients are pleased with that kind of "consecutive-simultaneous" style.

In other situations where the entire audience understands the target language, I have actually "upstaged" speakers by speaking over the speaker right up front, no equipment required; this, of course by prior arrangement with the speaker. Then no equipment has to be used, a big plus.

The consecutive and simultaneous modes are somewhat contradictory to one another, so getting the hang of both at the same time would seem to be rather difficult.

Whatever you choose, you will need plenty of practice.


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eva75
English
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TOPIC STARTER
thanks Aug 20, 2006

Thanks for your advice. So basically without any real experience, my chances of anyone offering me work are slim.:-(

[Edited at 2006-08-20 16:32]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:39
Flemish to English
+ ...
AIIC.net Aug 20, 2006

eva75 wrote:

Thanks for your advice. So basically without any real experience, my chances of anyone offering me work are slim.:-(

[Edited at 2006-08-20 16:32]


No so slim, should you get apply for and get accepted into one of the interpreter schools which you can find on www.aiic.net. Look for the schools with a high %-age of professors, who are interpreters.
These mentors introduce their "poulains" into the world of interpreting i.e. see to it that they get practise and assignments.
However, it will take you from 9 months to 16 months of training and most schools and institutions require two foreign languages (except in Canada and ESIT bilingual option).
You could also follow "the learning by doing path" (cfr. the interpreter of Michael Gorbachev) , but then you have to take into account that the chance to stumble are bigger than when you arrive at the start well-trained.
Consecutive is considered the kingpin of interpreting and is always the means for selection if an interpreter applies at an international institution.

[Edited at 2006-08-20 17:18]


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eva75
English
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TOPIC STARTER
ok Aug 20, 2006

Williamson wrote:

No so slim, should you get apply for and get accepted into one of the interpreter schools which you can find on www.aiic.net. Look for the schools with a high %-age of professors, who are interpreters.
These mentors introduce their "poulains" into the world of interpreting i.e. see to it that they get practise and assignments.
However, it will take you from 9 months to 16 months of training and most schools and institutions require two foreign languages (except in Canada and ESIT bilingual option).
You could also follow "the learning by doing path" (cfr. the interpreter of Michael Gorbachev) , but then you have to take into account that the chance to stumble are bigger than when you arrive at the start well-trained.
Consecutive is considered the kingpin of interpreting and is always the means for selection if an interpreter applies at an international institution.

[Edited at 2006-08-20 17:18]


Well, I have no ambitions to become a professional interpreter at the UN or anything. I just need to pay off some debt and interpreting (surely liaison is easier to get into) is a good way to do that.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:39
Flemish to English
+ ...
Liason is easier Aug 20, 2006

eva75 wrote:

Williamson wrote:

No so slim, should you get apply for and get accepted into one of the interpreter schools which you can find on www.aiic.net. Look for the schools with a high %-age of professors, who are interpreters.
These mentors introduce their "poulains" into the world of interpreting i.e. see to it that they get practise and assignments.
However, it will take you from 9 months to 16 months of training and most schools and institutions require two foreign languages (except in Canada and ESIT bilingual option).
You could also follow "the learning by doing path" (cfr. the interpreter of Michael Gorbachev) , but then you have to take into account that the chance to stumble are bigger than when you arrive at the start well-trained.
Consecutive is considered the kingpin of interpreting and is always the means for selection if an interpreter applies at an international institution.

[Edited at 2006-08-20 17:18]


Well, I have no ambitions to become a professional interpreter at the UN or anything. I just need to pay off some debt and interpreting (surely liaison is easier to get into) is a good way to do that.


You have freelance conference interpreters too.
From my own experience it is easier if the speaker can see you and you can see the speaker. For that you don't need (so much) training. I rolled into liason a couple of years ago, but stumbled over a high speed speaker (vitesse-TGV who kept on talking and talking) when doing booth interpreting into another language as my mother-tongue. With regard to interpreting I tend to agree more with mother-tongue only, IF there is a freelance market for it.
You could start practising consec by having a person read texts with a lot of figures and names in it. Let those text become gradually longer.... Jolt down titles, names, figures, nuclear words (linking words) and try to remember what has been said. Summarize it in the other language by jumping from linking word to linking word.

[Edited at 2006-08-20 17:50]


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:39
English to Spanish
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Questions Aug 20, 2006

Eva, you haven't said yet where you live or what are you language pairs. If you want to interpret from English into Spanish, I can give you a few pointers.

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eva75
English
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TOPIC STARTER
sorry Aug 20, 2006

teju wrote:

Eva, you haven't said yet where you live or what are you language pairs. If you want to interpret from English into Spanish, I can give you a few pointers.

Sorry, I live in France and work from French and German.


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xxxEmmanuelleAn  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:39
English to French
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Money... Aug 20, 2006

[quote]eva75 wrote:

I currently work as a translator, but am interested in doing simultaneous interpreting alongside (basically because it pays better!).

I do hope this is not your main motivation. Of course the money is very important but I don't think it would work if I didn't have a passion (addiction to?) for it. You give so much of yourself in that job...
Whereabout do you live?


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xxxEmmanuelleAn  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:39
English to French
+ ...
I must have missed something... Aug 20, 2006

.
You could also follow "the learning by doing path" (cfr. the interpreter of Michael Gorbachev) , but then you have to take into account that the chance to stumble are bigger than when you arrive at the start well-trained.

What happened with Gorbachev's interpreter?


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
What happened with Gorbachev's interpreter? Aug 20, 2006

As of a number of years ago at least, he was still working with Gorbachev who was on the speaking circuit.

I'm sure both of them were making much better money.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:39
Flemish to English
+ ...
Gorbachev's interpreter Aug 21, 2006

EmmanuelleAnn wrote:

.
You could also follow "the learning by doing path" (cfr. the interpreter of Michael Gorbachev) , but then you have to take into account that the chance to stumble are bigger than when you arrive at the start well-trained.

What happened with Gorbachev's interpreter?


Gorbachev's interpreter was only mentioned as an example to illustrate that interpreting can be learned by doing. He was not a trained interpreter, but gained experience by practising IRL.
He did make some mistakes too, but fortunately Mr.Bush sr. asked for feedback.
Google Gorbachev + interpreter and you will find some interesting fodder for reading.


[Edited at 2006-08-21 06:45]


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Kevin Kelly  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:39
Member (2005)
Russian to English
+ ...
More on Gorbachev's interpreter Aug 21, 2006

Mikhail Gorbachev's interpreter was (and is) Pavel Palazchenko, a superbly skilled (and highly trained) interpreter who worked at the UN for some years in addition to his service in the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He remains active as a writer, consultant, teacher, and freelance interpreter.

I've had the good fortune to attend two intensive courses in advanced simultaneous interpreting techniques taught by Mr. Palazchenko and can attest to his unparalleled abilities as an interpreter and as a teacher of interpreting.

Regarding the issue of simultaneous interpreting vs. consecutive: I have done a considerable amount of both and have come to prefer simultaneous. However, in the beginning of my career I did consecutive exclusively and considered the very idea of simultaneous interpreting so daunting that I didn't even dream of it until thrust into it by circumstance. IMO the greatest benefit of doing consecutive was that it forced me to develop my short-term memory skills and notetaking, both of which have stood me in good stead as an interpreter.

Alas, the ravages of age gradually deprive us of two precious gifts. One is memory, the other escapes me at the moment...

Kevin


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mystymy
Local time: 18:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
sometimes you get lucky with jobs Aug 21, 2006

I had no formal interpreter training, though I did university level work for translation.

Someone approached me for an interpreting assignment and I loved it. WHile I still do translation, I am now performing more interpreting work. SO even without training you can get work. Lucky for me I started with consecutive and escort, so when I was thrown into the booth I was alright. In fact I was commended for doing well on my first time out.

It pays to watch your booth mate or others with more experience when you start out, or when you have a situation that is unfamiliar.


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